STRASBOURG, June 23 (Sputnik) – Whistleblowers should get proper protection from their governments as they are doing a great favor for transparency and shedding light on violations which would not have been seen otherwise, a Dutch senator said Tuesday.
"Whistleblowers warn against abuses, first internally, and if that doesn't work, they go public. They deserve protection against retaliation by their employers. And even more so, against criminal prosecution," Pieter Omtzigt said presenting his report on protection of whistleblowers to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"If only FIFA had done what the whistleblowers disclosed, mainly corrupt practices, they might have assigned 2022 World Cup to another country than Qatar, and they would have done FIFA and all football playing and football lovers a great favor," he said.
The Dutch lawmaker emphasized the need for whistleblowers' protection:
"Whistleblowers still do not get proper protection in many European governments."
The issue of whistleblowers has been widely covered in the media in recent years.
In 2013, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the agency’s mass surveillance activities. Snowden has found asylum in Russia, while US authorities are still calling on him to return to the United States to face trial on charges of espionage and theft of government property. He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Another high-profile whistleblower is Julian Assange, who launched the WikiLeaks website in 2006. He was accused of sexual assault by the Swedish authorities in 2010. Since 2012, he has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, fearing extradition to the United States where he could face espionage charges for publishing secret documents.